The Space Between Us is a classic young adult love story with an unusual setting. Its main flaw is its hesitation to fully explore its premise.
The Space Between Us Synopsis
The Space Between Us tells the story of Gardner Elliot, a boy born on Mars during Earth’s first colonization mission of the red planet. Forced to remain there because of his different physiology, Gardner grows into an intelligent teenager who yearns to know more about his Earth-born parents. At the same time, he craves to meet Tulsa, a street smart Colorado girl he befriended in an online chatroom. Gardner eventually gets the chance to leave Mars after undergoing extensive surgery to strengthen his body. Once on Earth, though, he discovers to his despair he would still die from the effects of Earth’s stronger gravity. In a fit of rebelliousness, he then runs away from his guardians to meet up with Tulsa.
Beneath its ostentatious façade of interplanetary travel, The Space Between Us is really no more than a simple young adult love story.
Sheltered (ill health) boy meets streetwise girl. The duo runs away and goes on a road trip.
After various tribulations, they are forced to part but because their love is so pure, so strong, all is not lost. There is hope of them meeting again someday. Love transcends all, technology facilitates. Even the millions of miles between Earth and Mars is no problem.
Blah blah. Blah blah.
Honestly speaking, I’d love to cheer for a movie that’s so enthusiastically optimistic about life. I know too that this movie is near desperate for me to celebrate humanity, with so many segments of it full of oh-wow visual candy moments.
But I can’t. I can’t because the story bored me in and out. The plot was as flat as a prairie road.
It’s how everything turns out so well, you see. Everything is so sanitised with every main character ultimately revealed to be sweet, decent, or forgivable. Despite the myriad of crises presented, you also know that Gardner Elliot was never in any real danger, because the whole world, and Mars, were out to save him.
Perhaps the producers believed this sort of fantasy would appeal to young adults. Maybe this is how current date movies are supposed to be too. For me, though, I felt a little more tragedy would have made the story far more memorable. I’m not asking for the teen to die, of course not. But for him to be given everything he wants, get the girl, reconnect with his family, all so effortlessly … Hmm.
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